Licensed sports merchandise company Fanatics has announced the opening of an office in Germany and installed veteran sports marketing executive Joachim Hilke as its managing director.
Located in Hamburg, the new Fanatics Germany team will be tasked with developing new business opportunities in central Europe, part of the Florida-based firm’s plan to further expand its activities outside of the United States.
The opening of the new office builds on Fanatics’ existing international operations, and follows the opening of a regional outpost in Tokyo. In Europe, the company has existing merchandising partnerships with several leading soccer clubs including Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.
Last month, Fanatics demonstrated its overseas intentions when it agreed an innovative kit design, manufacturing and distribution partnership with English second-tier club Aston Villa - a deal that replicates the ‘v-commerce’ approach the company has deployed for various sports organisations based in the United States.
Fanatics' model is designed to respond to real-time fan demand for merchandise, relying on a more seamless and agile supply chain that enables the company and its partners to get products to market more quickly.
Hilke most recently served as chief commercial officer of Bundesliga club HSV and is a former chief executive of the Sportfive agency. In his new role, he will report directly to Steve Davis, the president of Fanatics International.
“Fanatics Germany is a huge step towards our commitment of growing the company globally,” said Davis. “There’s immense fandom and passion for sports throughout this region, and we are excited to bring our innovative capabilities to the local teams, partners and retailers looking to significantly enhance the overall fan experience.”